Athletics - Who You Are Is Not Enough
Record Label: Deep Elm Records
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Based out of Asbury Park, New Jersey, post rock quintet Athletics released their latest album entitled Who You Are Is Not Enough in the summer of 2012. It is currently available for free download on their Bandcamp site (link at the bottom), and I strongly suggest you give it a listen. While it might appear like an EP, having only five songs, it’s longer than many full-length albums, with the longest track clocking in at over 9 minutes.
Album opener, "I" (each song is named I, II, III, IV, & V), begins with dual layered guitars, plucking a simple melody for nearly 2 and a half minutes, growing louder and more persistent with time. Suddenly a melancholic guitar verse falls into place, taking the stage, and vocalist Garrett Yaeger somberly begins his narrative, “Seeing this makes it easy, easier to fall, and I can’t wait for the end of it all.” I is perhaps the most aggressive song on the album, quickly building up with the scream of Yaeger and sharply strummed, distorted chords. The song soon catches its own form of rhythm, bouncing between staccato beats and delayed guitar solos.
"II" begins with a muted guitar strum, and actually sounds like it’s still song "I." Carrying on in the same vein, reflective guitar melodies take the stage. The song builds more quickly than "I," with the pitter patter of a snare drum roll accompanying guitars. "II" eventually builds into a beautiful, soaring chorus, only to be replaced by dirty, distorted guitar sludging alongside climactic drums. "II" as a song seems to end, however, when it’s only half over, a completely new movement begins and intricate, delayed guitar melodies quietly build into a slow jam, as Yaeger muses “But it was hard for you / And every simple task, I noticed it was hard for you / I should have released my grasp, but it was hard for me too.” Delicate guitar plucking leads the song into a sudden chord progression, and vocal outro by Yaeger.
"III" sounds more nostalgic than the rest of the record, never quite building up to much more than guitar solos and downbeat drum patterns. "III" is the slowest of the songs, yet still manages to be interesting as it’s accompanied by the airy crooning of Yaeger & co. in gang vocal format. "IV" is very similar to "II," in that is has climactic choruses with intricate guitar solos, yet it also makes its own name in the record by being more cut and dry, as Yaeger’s voice is perhaps the most clear on the entire record, “And now I think / my faith is weakening.”
Final tack "V," is my personal favorite. It’s a distinct movement into uncharted territory for the band, relying only on a simple piano progression. The song is somewhat muted and reverbed, as Yaeger painstakingly notes, “Time may heal the deepest wounds, but a severed limb is gone for good. My love died with you. I should have died with you. I would have died for you.” The song ends gently, leaving the listener with a distinct sense of melancholy and somber satisfaction. The record was long and many feels were felt; the end has arrived and now we are free to be sad just as the band intended.
As far as post rock goes, this album does not disappoint; each song is layered with smooth transitions, distant, wailing guitars, and somber vocals. Athletics’ newest record is perhaps their best, moving into a realm of subdued, introspective lyrics, and bright, clear melodies.
5/4/2014 Edit: Deep Elm Record's Media Department contacted me about Athletics' rerelease of this album with 5 "Find Yourself" instrumental versions of the tracks on Who You Are Is Not Enough. If you head on over to http://www.deepelmdigital.com/album/...-is-not-enough you can download the entire released album for free! Enjoy.